Why do they use robots in the building materials sector?
The building materials industry has been slower than many others to adopt robotics and automation, but now things are about to change and the key drivers are similar to why many industries are going in the same direction: cost, shortage of labour and safety.
Building materials is an expensive business. If you consider that a modern motorway can cost a million pounds a mile, it’s no wonder that company CFOs are sweating the figures. And human labour is one of the big costs, especially when you add in the fact that the shortage of skilled labour is being felt across so many industries.
Take the hugely expensive kit that is needed to complete most building materials projects. Highly skilled and highly trained labour is needed to operate this machinery. Taking shortcuts here will lead to costly project overruns and even more costly risk to equipment. Then there is the constant question of safety.
In the UK for example, building materials is ranked as the third most dangerous industry. Figures from the UK’s Health and Safety Executive’s (HSE) show that over 2018/2019, some 30 construction workers died at work.
This means that the number of deaths for 100,000 workers is 1.31 and that the cost of this to the industry, nevermind the personal cost to families, is reckoned to be over £1bn. Government and industry figures are calling for greater investment in health and safety in the building materials and construction industries, and the drive towards robotics and automation will help greatly.
Expect to see increased robots in the industry over the coming years.